28 July, 2008


Abuja disappoints - again

Posted: 2008-07-27 12:00

Despite boasting a stadium that ranks among the best in Africa, Nigeria's capital city Abuja once again came up short in the spectator stakes when Portsmouth played Kano Pillars on Saturday at the National Stadium.

Large, open spaces gaped out of the 60 000 capacity stadium as the Nigerian champions were thrashed 5-0 by the English FA Cup holders.

This will not be the first time Abuja has embarrassed the nation. In 2003, Christian Chukwu's Super Eagles played Brazil in an international friendly game that was expected to have the stadium bursting at the seams.

Sadly, that did not happen, and organisers of that game told KickOffNigeria.com that they are still reeling from the effects of the loss.

Only one other Super Eagles game attracted a full house, that was the 2006 World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe, which the Eagles won 5-1 but failed to advance after Angola won in Rwanda.

Conversely, games hosted in places like Port Harcourt, Warri and Abeokuta are almost always guaranteed sell-outs irrespective of t he pricing.

The Tinapa Football festival was due to be held at the UJ Esuene stadium in Calabar, which would have most likely been sold out, but KickOffNigeria.com understands that the two English clubs insisted on playing in Abuja.

Although fans have been flying in from Lagos, it is doubtful if there will be any significant changes in the numbers passing through the turnstiles.

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